Abortion Care, Birth Control Access, Commentary, Elections, War on Women

Personhood Amendment Fails in Birthplace of Personhood USA

The people of Colorado can breathe a slight sigh of relief, as the personhood amendment failed to garner enough signatures to be placed on November’s ballot. Personhood USA, based in CO, has been trying, unsuccessfully, since 2008 to pass a personhood amendment in Colorado’s state legislature. The ballot measure failed by nearly 4,000 signatures, but Jennifer Mason, a spokesperson for Personhood USA, said they aren’t giving up yet. They’ve hired a lawyer and plan to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision.

The amendment declares that “The term ‘person’ or ‘persons’ shall include every human being from fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.” Medical professionals believe this could  open the door to making birth control and abortion illegal, not to mention the fact that doctors who treat women of reproductive age—and women themselves—would be at risk of lawsuits if they gave (received) care that somehow damaged a fertilized egg.

Personhood USA “serves the pro-life community by assisting local groups to initiate citizen, legislative, and political action focusing on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: personhood rights for all innocent humans. [emphasis mine]”. Its goal is to ultimately pass a federal law to “reaffirm” personhood in the US Constitution. They have traveled to different states over the past few years, working to place the amendment of states’ ballots and to encourage states to pass it.

The group focuses on ensuring the rights of fertilized eggs as persons. As a colleague of mine asked, when can they start voting? What rights to property do they have? Or, more seriously, what does this mean for the pregnant woman? What if she’s having a complicated labor and the only way to save her life is to abort the fetus? What about women (and men!) who just want to enjoy having sex without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy? Apparently those concerns are not shared by all persons.

Personhood USA has been working tirelessly to pass this amendment in CO, for at least the past 4 years. Unremarkably, the intelligent, reasonable, and intuitive people of CO have voted against it each time. In 2008, it lost by a 73-27 percent margin; in 2010, 70-30 percent margin. The fact that they couldn’t even get enough valid signatures to put it on the ballot a third time is telling. Let’s hope they realize the futility of their assertions and stop trying to legislate women’s bodies.


My favorite part of Personhood USA (aside from the obvious repercussions of a fertilized egg being considered a human): they posted a blog article DEFENDING Todd Akin. For your perusal–

4. Akin is the real victim
The real travesty here is that “everybody is gang-tackling Todd Akin,” says the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. “You talk about a forcible situation, you talk about somebody being a victim of forcible assault, that would be Todd Akin.” He needs our help. The “old Northeastern establishment Republicans like Romney” obviously feel threatened by Akin, and so “that establishment savages him — violently and in unison,” says American Vision’s Joel McDurmon. “Call it a political gang rape — a legitimate one.”



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